delicacy may be poison
Beware! some of the food you are eating
these days in the belief that they are delicious imported
items may cause indigestion, food poisoning or something
A dangerously increasing number of
food items which have gone beyond expiry dates or are
close to them are being imported and sold to unsuspecting
consumers, a top health official said yesterday.
The Colombo Municipality’s Chief
Medical Officer Dr. Pradeep Kariyawasam said distributors
were loading outdated and therefore dangerous products
not only in city outlets but even in rural areas.
He said that to attract customers,
these dated items were being sold at cut prices and
he warned the people that the little they save would
be nothing compared to the consequences they suffer
from possible food poisoning. Another attraction or
temptation was the offer of two packs for the price
of one and both being bad.
He said that in most cases, the expired
date had been rubbed off and a new date forged on the
item by the distributor and the consumers needed to
double check whether the expiry date was genuine or
Dr. Kariyawasam said he feared many
kitchens were overloaded with dated items where the
forged expiry date carried a “Best Before”
He said the main items in this racket
were canned foods and recently his inspectors found
some 20 kilos of cheese beyond their expiry date and
unfit if not dangerous for human consumption.
He said the racket was going on in
restaurants and takeaway outlets also with dated canned
items being prepared and sold to unsuspecting customers.
Dr. Kariyawasam said there was evidence
of extensive relabelling of the outdated items and this
was likely to increase because of the bigger demand
during the coming festive season.
He said turkey being a traditional
Christmas delicacy, the food racketeers were in previous
years known to relabel and sell at high prices turkey
that was hard as wood.
Dr.Kariyawasam said the imported items
being used by the racketeers came not only from the
West but also from countries like China.
He urged the people to help curb this
menace by double checking what they buy and bringing
any suspicious items to the notice of the municipalities
and public health departments. He said people could
Health Ministry’s Food Safety
Director Dr. C.K. Shanmugarajah said his officials were
taking every step to check the outdated items at the
Customs clearing point.
But the law had some loopholes and
amendments would be introduced soon.